It's been 800 years since Genghis Khan united the Mongol empire by force, which is as good a reason as any for a party. AP reports on the Mongol merry-making:
Getting in the spirit, the legislature granted amnesty to 1,590 prisoners, Ulan Bator authorities ordered 285 chronic alcoholics into drying-out clinics and the president urged Mongolians to party, though not too hard.
"Let's keep our streets clean and orderly," President N. Enkhbayar said on TV. "Let's sing our national anthem together. Let's drink vodka moderately."
Last year I had a short piece on the cultural evolution of Khan's image from brutal conquerer to kitschy symbol of all things Mongolian. And in that piece I probably should have predicted this:
The widespread use of the Genghis name for promotional purposes rankles with some who consider themselves stewards of the Khan's legacy.
D. Enkhtaivan is a former member of parliament and president of the Genghis Khan Management Association, a private group that promotes the study of Genghis Khan. It was he who came up with the idea of changing Ulan Bator to Genghis City, "just as Russians named St. Petersburg" after Peter the Great "and Americans named their capital city after George Washington."
But he wants such things regulated to prevent frivolous exploitation.
"We should have a law on the use of Genghis Khan's name," he said.